Featured post

Pre -assessment review of Drawing 2

Overall Evaluation

Now that I have come to the end of Drawing 2, when I look at the final pieces I’ve made, I barely recognise my own work.  I decided from the outset that I would push myself during this course.  Being my first level 2 course, I knew it would be very different from what I’d experienced before.  Prior to studying with OCA, I had very little experience of contemporary art, particularly Installation.   When I was researching Cornelia Parker’s Poison and Antidote drawing, I thought at first, it made no difference what medium she used to draw with; it was the visual image at the end that was important.  Now I am at the end of the course and my opinion is the complete opposite, hence the subject matter of my Critical Review; the Artist as a Recorder.

It wasn’t an over night change for me; it has been more gradual.  The research in the course work prompted me to look at artists I would never have known about, like Martin Werner, Janice Kerbel and Steven Campbell.  It taught me there is an infinite number of ways to make art.

The projects pushed me into trying some of these ways for myself.  Some were familiar, such as the observational drawing in Part 1, mark making and composition, but many I found very difficult to do, such as the drawing with a machine, using found images, interacting with the environment and my nemesis; installation. In addition, I had to relearn academic writing and referencing.

I think looking at the Parallel Project highlights the process I went through from the start of the course to the end.  I began by making observational drawings, initially portraits of the staff, then graduated to drawing the office environment.  Using my new way of looking at every day things, my attention was drawn to the grey dots on the privacy panels, and I thought about repetition and pattern, and the way in which they are used to protect someone’s privacy, and this eventually lead to me finding a way portray the experiences of the people.  By developing a new way of seeing and recording, added to the encouragement from my tutor, I was brave enough to attempt to express these experiences in an authentic way.  It was very daunting showing other people this work, and I was so out of my comfort zone, but I believe it has paid off.

I think the turning point for me came at Part 4, when completing the project on interacting with the environment.  I read the instructions and literally made images using material from the environment, such as leaves and twigs etc.  I had stalled at this point, lacking confidence in my choices, and eventually decided I would just need to do something, rather than hesitate any longer.  I contacted my tutor Bryan, and showed him the images, expressing my disappointment in the outcome.  I told him about the groundwork I was doing for the parallel project, and how capturing my experiences at work had caught my interest.  He suggested focussing on this area and I decided to outline some hypothetical interactions I could make at work.  I enjoyed doing this; it caught my imagination, I had fun with it and added humour.  I also enjoyed the new experience of making art by writing.  This made me realise for myself, how you make art, what you use, what you do with it, what you want the outcome to be, these are all up to the artist to decide.  There is no definitive guide and there is no one out there to tell you want to do, it’s all up to you.

With this experimentation has come understanding; it helps to to understand the process and the concept, and looking at and researching other artists help you do this.

Although apprehensive, eventually I realised that the only way to learn is to embrace the challenges. If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got.

In addition, the OCA Study visit to the Turner Prize I participated in, couldn’t have come at a more fortuitous time. Whilst I may not personally have appreciated seeing fur jackets sewn on to tubular chairs, because of the research I had already undertaken, I was able to understand Nicole Werner’s concept.  This again, reinstated my new-found discovery that art can be; a choir singing, an environmental project, a library, or indeed fur jackets from Ebay stitched onto chairs.

Looking back, I found Drawing 2 to be a very difficult course to complete, but definitely worthwhile.  In addition, I feel I have been very fortunate in having Bryan Eccleshall as my tutor.  He was most encouraging, and gave me the confidence to try new things, and his own work as a practicing artist was inspirational.

My local art group enjoyed watching me drawing the Time and the Viewer piece so much, we gave it a name Autobiographic, and three other members have since made their own.

It has helped me to develop a new way of looking at every day things.  I can look at something objectively, see it as a shape, a series of lines or composition, I’m curious when I see areas of grass or carpet worn by constant tread of people. Or marks left by repeated activity, or ephemera left lying around in a particular way.  I would never previously have noticed these things, or associated them with making or appreciating art.

The course also helped me develop problem solving skills, in so much that it forced me to think about alternative ways to make marks.  For example the Collography process I used on the Parallel project artists book, my experimentation with the use of Letraset to add text to a drawing, the use of bubble wrap to censor the personal details.  And who could forget the drawing with an electric tooth brush!

More than ever, the artists books I made were a huge step forward for me.  It was most enjoyable pointing out the idiocy of some of the rules at work.  I found the parody of the rules and regulations cathartic.  I enjoyed the writing part very much, and again, would never have contemplated this as ‘making art.’

This has given me a confidence I hope will stay with me as I continue on my Painting Degree Pathway




The following is a list of books I used for the majority of reference, although I did read many others not included;

The Amazing World of M C Escher. The National Galleries of Scotland.  Edinburgh.  2015

Art Since 1960.  New Edition, Archer, Michael.  Thames & Hudson world of art.  London. 2012

Drawing Now. Between the Lines of Contemporary Art. TRACEY. I B Taurus.  New York.  2007

Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, Hoptman, Laura.  The Museum of Modern Art, New York.  2002

Drawing Projects.  Maslen, Mick and Southern, Jack. Black Dog Publishing. London. 2014

Gombrich, E H (2011) The Story of Art, 16 Edition. London: Phaidon Press Ltd

‘John Bellany, Keith Hartley with Alexander Moffat, John McEwen & Paul Bellany.  National Galleries of Scotland 2012

Modern Art.  Flame Tree Publishing. London 2005

The Poetry of Place, Duncan Shanks sketch books and the Upper Clyde, Freight Books.  2015

The Two Roberts, Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, Elliott, Patrick.  National Galleries of Scotland.  Edinburgh. 2014

The 20th Century Art Book.  Phaidon 1996



M C Esher exhibition

Last year I went to see The Amazing World of M.C. Escher at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

About the Exhibition

M.C. Escher is one of the great conundrums of modern art. He is an artist whose work is as instantly recognisable as anything by Salvador Dalí, yet his name means little to a British audience. Escher was never affiliated to any group, rarely travelling far from his modest home in the Dutch town of Baarn, and focusing exclusively on graphic art. He was a one-man art movement who created some of the most famous and popular images in modern art, yet he remains a complete enigma.

This exhibition features over 100 prints and drawings spanning his whole career, and is drawn in its entirety from the Geemeentemuseum in The Hague, in the Netherlands, which holds an almost complete set of Escher’s prints. It is also mounted in collaboration with the Escher in Het Paleis, a museum of Escher’s work which opened in the centre of The Hague in 2002.

I have always liked the work of Escher.  I like the precision and perfection of it and I learned at the exhibition that this was in part because his brother was a Mathematician and helped him work out the exact calculations for the reflections on the spheres etc. In addition his father had very exacting standards and would point out any flaws in his work and suggest he did it again.

I particularly admire his Metamorposis 1 where the negative spaces between fish gradually morph into black swans.

I included his drawing in my Time and the Viewer drawing.


Time and the Viewer black drawing pen


Time and the Viewer

My homage to Escher; black cats morphing into white swans.



Adrian Wiszniewski demonstration

Adrian Wiszniewski was born in Glasgow in 1958 and trained at Glasgow School of Art from 1979 to 1983. He was a leading figure in the revival of figurative painting in a group known as the New Glasgow Boys.

Adrian Wiszniewski RSA, HonFRIAS, HRSW (b.1958) creates work characterised by a strong drawing element and fertile imagination. Populated with contemplative figures set in vividly coloured Arcadian landscapes, his paintings are rich with symbolic, political and philosophical depths.

I have attended a demonstration by Adrian Wisznieski at Paisley Artists before.  This one was particularly memorable to me, precisely because it appeared to have been completely unmemorable to him; he arrived half an hour late and seemed to be completely unprepared.

He had brought his sketchbooks with him though, and this was particularly interesting because he told us he was starting to develop an interest in landscape drawing that he had never had before, as a result of securing a Creative Scotland Grant for a trip to New Zealand.

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski


User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski


User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski


User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

He said that he was not much of a Painter, he preferred to draw.  When he starts to draw, he has no intention of how the drawing will look.  He will start out with a large sheet of paper, often taped to a wall.  He will begin in the middle of the paper by drawing an eye, for example, then will start to fill the sheet.  He makes marks, like a piece of music, adds different layers, has repetition, and won’t know what it’s going to be about until the last stroke.  He was influenced by Van Gogh, his work is full of energy.  He trusts his subconscious mind; it’s almost like an archaeological dig, drawing to uncover what the picture is about.

He always has a sketchbook with him, but seldom works from what is in front of him, preferring to work from his imagination.  He showed us some drawings he made recently on a train journey.

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

Here he is drawing at the demonstration;

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

And here is the drawing;

User comments

Adrian Wiszniewski

I found him to be fascinating to listen to.  He has eclectic interests and seemed to jump from one subject to another.  He said the trick was to stay interested in what you are doing, if he stops being interested he will move on to different media and has used Perspex, stained glass and fluorescent light.  I liked that his work was under pinned by drawing, and he wasn’t interested in ‘art speak’, as he called it, as he thought an artists should at least be able to draw.











Research on Stephen Walter Part 5

Reflection: Stephen Walter is a contemporary artist who works a lot with drawing and mapping.  He works I such detail that the viewer needs to use a magnifying glass to experience parts of his art work.  Look at Walter’s work, read his comments and reflect on them in your log.  What does such a fine level of detail lend to the image?

Stephen Walter’s biography on his website states ‘Stephen Walter’s work is an investigation into obsessive drawing techniques, semiotics, the glory of maps, and where Landscape is seen a receptacle for meaning. Each work is an intricate world in itself. The maps are a tangle of words, symbols and drawn elements where cultural residues inhabit certain locations‘.

When I first looked at the level of detail in Walter’s drawings, particularly in his maps,

I was a bit over whelmed and thought ‘do I really want to read all that?’ Curiosity drew me in and the whole thing really grabbed my attention.  It is packed full of information, often amusing, such as a place called ‘Eyesore’ in Nova Utopia, 2013.  The scale is sometimes large, particularly the maps, for example the print Nova Utopia, 2013 is 133.5 x 171.5 cm.  The large size of the map contrasts with the tiny intricate pieces of information it contains.  The viewer has to get up close to the print to absorb all the information and it is worth the effort as they view Paranoia HQ and Middle age water colourists. I found it to be very funny and clever and wanted to read everything, and despite the size, I really enjoyed it.



Collaborative Drawing Project

I participated in a Collaborative Drawing Project organised by my tutor Bryan Eccleshall.  The instructions were that each person would have two panels to draw.  Each drawing was to be 12 inches x 12 inches, and had to be monochrome, but could be in any appropriate medium. It was to be made using the grid method, so that the proportions would be fairly accurate.  This is one of my panels;

2015-11-24 18.27.08

12 ” x 12″ charcoal

And here is how it fitted in to the overall drawing.


I wasn’t asked to send the actual drawing, just a photograph.  Bryan said that if the actual drawings wee to be assembled the whole piece would be eight feet by six feet.

I found the project exciting to participate in.  It made me think about Bryan’s role as the artist.  He didn’t complete any of the panels, however he was still the creator.  In a way, the participants became his media and he dictated what we created for him.